Improvements to Cypress Lake Road’s intersection with Veterans Memorial Parkway, including the installation of fully functional red-yellow-green traffic signals, should be completed by March, County Engineer Brad Deal told the county commissioners last week.
The Bulloch County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 7 unanimously approved a $149,846 change order to the contract with Ellis Wood Contracting Inc. for redesigned traffic signal supports and underground wiring that make the project acceptable to Georgia Power. This boosts the price tag of the contract, originally awarded Ellis Wood a year earlier on a lowest bid of $538,949, to $688,795 total. Also during last week’s meeting, commissioners approved contracts with other companies for paving an unpaved stretch of Hood Road and widening and resurfacing a section of Old River Road South. So, more than $1.9 million in transportation project spending was approved during the hour.
County Manager Tom Couch asked Deal when he expects the Cypress Lake-Veterans Memorial intersection work to be completed.
“What we have calculated – I was talking to the contractor earlier today just to verify some things – it could be a little sooner than this, but we’re thinking by March we should be finished,” Deal said.
County Attorney Jeff Akins then pointed out that the change order document gave a substantial completion date of Feb. 26, and Deal said the county was “sticking to that date.”
Currently this busy intersection on the parkway, Statesboro’s U.S. Highway 301 bypass, is controlled only by stop signs on the Cypress Lake Road approaches and a flashing red-and-yellow caution light.
Ellis Wood’s contracted work includes widening Cypress Lake Road near the intersection to include turn lanes, as well as installing the traffic light system. That was also the case with the original September 2020 contract, but the plan then called for taller poles and wire cables to support the traffic signals.
However, Georgia Power surveyed the location and objected that the design would place the traffic signal poles and support wires too close to its higher-voltage transmission lines. Shortly after the beginning of 2021, the power company proposed to raise the transmission lines in return for a $287,507 payment from the county. But the commissioners rejected this proposal, and Deal and the contracted design firm, Parker Engineering, developed a plan to use shorter poles with mast arms for the traffic signals and place the wires that operate them underground.
“The latter option is the one that we decided to go with because it would be less costly,” Deal said last week. “So this change order, which is basically $150,000, is a good bit less than the $287,000 we would have had to pay Georgia Power.”
Yet the steel mast-arm poles have to be custom-ordered. Deal said he had been told that delivery could take about six months. The contractor had started the process to order the poles, and Deal said the start time was “right now” for other elements of the project.
The county had $715,000 budgeted for the project, including $350,000 from a Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant, or LMIG, from the Georgia Department of Transportation, and $365,000 from the county’s own Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST.
So far as construction costs, the revised $688,794 contract price remains within that budget. But Deal said he thinks the project may now “run over the budget slightly” to around $720,000 because of some other utility line relocation involving Excelsior Electric Membership Corp.
Hood Road paving
The commissioners also unanimously awarded an $882,336 contract to Mill Creek Construction for paving the roughly two-mile, unpaved segment of Hood Road between Pulaski Road and Parrish Road. Mill Creek's price was the lowest of four bids.
A cost estimate from EMC Engineering had exceeded $1 million, and the county had budgeted $950,000 from T-SPLOST for the project, so the construction contract cost is below both. But utility relocation costs with Excelsior EMC, projected at up to $107,000 but as yet undetermined, will also add to the total, Deal said.
Following years of citizen requests and right of way negotiations, Hood Road is the longest stretch of dirt road the county has scheduled for paving in 2021. A bid form stated that the winning contractor would have 150 days to complete the project after getting the county’s notice to proceed.
Old River Rd. South
But the widening and resurfacing of the already paved 4.3-mile section of Old River Road South from P.W. Clifton Road to Lane’s Church Road will cost a little more. The Board of Commissioners unanimously awarded the contract for this work to Sikes Brothers Inc. for $911,610, the lowest price among four paving companies that bid.
“It doesn’t appear that that part of Old River Road has ever been resurfaced. The other sections have, at different points,” Deal told the commissioners. “The road has a lot of potholes that have been patched over the years.”
The existing pavement is also less than 20 feet wide in many places, he said. A 55 mph speed limit, drivers exceeding that limit, sharp curves and the road’s use for moving agricultural equipment raise safety concerns for such a narrow surface, Deal said, so the project will also widen the road by two feet on each side “as a little bit of a safety improvement.”
It is being funded with a combination of state LMIG and county T-SPLOST money.
A bid notice stated that the contractor would have 10 days to begin the work and 120 days to complete it after the notice to proceed.